If you are convicted of a sex crime, you may find that the harshest penalty you face is not prison time or fines—it is being added to the Ohio Sex Offender Registry. As one of the most restrictive and long-lasting consequences of a sex crime conviction, registration as a sex offender can affect an individual’s job prospects, privacy, and ability to live openly in the community for decades.
What Is a Sex Offender Registry?
State and federal governments require convicted sex offenders to register in a public database, identifying them as potential safety risks to their communities. Ohio’s sex offender registry has over 20,000 listed offenders who have been found guilty of various levels of sex crimes, including rape, stalking, and acts of pedophilia.
Under Ohio law, anyone convicted of a qualifying sex crime must provide their local sheriff’s office with personal information to be included on the eSORN (Sex Offender Registration and Notification) database. Failure to register in Ohio is a first degree misdemeanor, or a fifth degree felony if the sexual offense committed was a felony.
Some of the information required includes the offender’s:
- Recent photograph
- Physical description and identifying characteristics
- Criminal history
- Home and work addresses
- Vehicle information
- Phone numbers
- E-mail accounts
- Online screen names and handles
Who Needs to Be Listed on the Ohio Sex Offender Registry?
The majority of states, including Ohio, have an offense-based registry. This type of registry does not allow for any mitigating circumstances (such as the offender’s age or severity of the crime committed); if a qualifying crime is committed, the offender will be listed on the registry.
Ohio law classifies sex offenders into three tiers depending on the nature of the crime:
- Tier I (Low-risk). Offenders who have been found guilty of Unlawful Sexual Conduct, Sexual Imposition, Importuning, Voyeurism, Promoting Prostitution, Stalking, Public Indecency In Front of Minor, or Illegal Use of Minor in Nudity-Oriented Material are considered low-risk offenders. Tier I offenders remain on the public registry for 15 years, and must verify registration information once a year.
- Tier II (Moderate-risk). Offenders who are found guilty of Compelling Prostitution, Soliciting a Minor, Possessing Child Pornography, Gross Sexual Imposition of a Victim Under 13, Kidnapping or Abduction, Human Trafficking, or certain other forms of Unlawful Sexual Conduct are considered medium-risk offenders. Individuals may also be classified as Tier II if they previously committed a Tier I offense. Tier II offenders remain on the public registry for 25 years and verify registration information every 180 days.
- Tier III (High-risk). Offenders who are convicted of Rape, Sexual Battery, Gross Sexual Imposition of a Victim Under 12, Felonious Assault With Sexual Motivation, Kidnapping a Victim Under 18, Sexually Violent Predator Actions, or Aggravated Murder, Murder, or Voluntary Manslaughter With Sexual Motivation have the highest possible offender rate. Tier III offenders remain on the public registry for life, and must verify registration information every 90 days.
Potential Consequences of Registering as a Sex Offender
The repercussions of sex offender registration can cause lifelong complications for you even after you have paid your debt to society. In addition to social stigma, isolation, and discrimination, you will likely suffer:
- Tarnished reputation. Once you have been registered, all residential neighbors within 1,000 feet of your home will be notified of your offense and your identifying information by the Sheriff’s Office. This notice contains safety tips on how neighbors can protect themselves from you and provides information about the registry’s website, causing irreparable harm to your public image.
- Impaired living and working ability. Sex offenders are prohibited from living, working, or even walking near schools, making it difficult for offenders to find jobs or places to live.
- Visits from law enforcement. Ohio law allows police to perform unannounced checks on registered sex offenders in Ohio to ensure the information they provided to the database is correct. Members of the public are also encouraged to contact local law enforcement if a search of the database raises concerns about a registered offender.
Are you or someone you know facing criminal charges?
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.